This week: ‘disturbing’ allegations about New Hanover Schools administration; DR Horton lies to Pender County about water use; and Carolina Beach debates bringing its public nudity laws into the 21st century.
We start this week with a bombshell dropped in open court. During the hearing of Michael Earl Kelly in Superior Court, Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan told the judge that Kelly had told investigators he had been investigated and cleared by the school for exposing himself in 2006.
Jordan told the court she found it “upsetting” and “disturbing” that the school had never reported this — which not only a clear ethical violation but also a crime under North Carolina law.
Evidence continues to mount that the school district had notice, possibly for a decade or more, that Kelly was behaving inappropriately with students. The school administration continues to deny this; the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is investigating multiple allegations that the administration and top staff failed to report child abuse.
Next up, we look at DR Horton’s apparent violation of Pender County’s water restrictions — which have been in place for over a month. The nation’s largest homebuilder told county officials that they were using private retention ponds to provide irrigation water, but when county staff showed up at the development, DR Horton had connected sprinklers to house spigots, using county water for around-the-clock lawn watering.
Will the homebuilder be fined after lying to the county? It’s not clear yet, but it doesn’t look likely — and it’s not the first time the company has flaunted county and state law; in Brunswick County, the company was in violation of stormwater laws for over a year. No fines have been issued there, either.
Finally, we head to Carolina Beach, where development of a previously vacant lot has canceled the Port City RibFest for the second year running (after successfully moving from Wilmington in 2017, it was canceled by Hurricane Florence last year).
And, in our final story, we take a look at one resident’s anger over revealing bathing suits. Ordinarily, we leave the complaints of cranky individuals alone but, in this case, the resident’s email to the town has sparked a serious conversation about changing the town’s nudity and public decency laws to “bring them into the 21st century.”
If you missed any of these stories, you can catch up below. Then take a deeper dive with our weekly podcast.